Copyright vests in a work as soon as it is created, but for many creators, protecting their rights is out of reach. Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright, and federal litigation is not cheap. According to a survey by the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property, most attorneys won’t even consider taking a case if the amount at stake is less than $40,000. Visual and literary artists are particularly hurt because the individual value of their works or transactions is often below that amount.
To address this problem, and bring meaningful remedies to individual creators, the Copyright Office released a study in 2013 that recommended the creation of a streamlined process for resolving copyright claims. The voluntary dispute resolution system proposed would be centralized in the Copyright Office and only hear claims with an amount at stake under $30,000. It would be designed to provide an easy and streamlined process for creators—including the ability to conduct proceedings remotely.
The Copyright Alliance supports the creation of a small copyright claims process
The Copyright Alliance supports the creation of a small claims system with the following characteristics, many of which are reflected in the Copyright Office’s proposal:
Appropriately limit the scope and nature of claims;
Encourage the creation of new copyrighted works and authorized derivative works;
Provide effective remedies to plaintiffs, and incentivize participation by defendants;
Deter copyright infringements, and encourage licensing of copyrighted works;
Be cost-effective and efficient for all parties; and